More fun from Jon Fitch’s Full Contact Fighter interview where he grouses about the way title contenders are picked:
According the long-time contender, there’s no way to be sure when a shot will come into range.
“It’s impossible to tell. There’s no system for picking number one contenders. There’s no order, there’s no lineup, there’s no point system. It’s just whoever they feel they’re going to make the most money off of. That’s who gets the title shot. It kind of sucks, because in other sports there’s kind of a clear path; you do this, this and this, and you get this. That’s just not the way combat sports work I guess. It doesn’t work that way with boxing or the UFC. It comes down to showmanship. I have to be a better showman to get a title shot. I don’t have to be a better fighter I just have to be a better showman.”
A recipient of criticism in the past for his grinding, smothering style, Fitch does understand that finishing fights, rather than winning decisions, is the thoroughfare to belt-fights.
Before we revert to our standard Fitch-bashing, I would like to point out that this is something of a positive evolution in Jon’s understanding of how title shots are earned. While he still claims there’s ‘no clear path’ (uuuuh finishing fights?), he now at least understands that he needs to ‘be a better showman.’ And I can understand why he’s a little confused. Jon Fitch wasn’t always an unrelenting decision machine. Back in the leadup to his title shot against Georges St Pierre he finished 4 of his 8 UFC opponents, which isn’t terrible at all. And try to find anyone else who has to win 8 in a row to earn a title shot. After that, he was sitting on a five fight win streak before that draw against BJ Penn.
But while it might be nice to imagine a world where title fights are determined by some sort of ranking system rather than the whims of a vindictive and mercurial crazyperson like Dana White, I doubt it would work out in real life. There’s a very good chance that this theoretical ‘fair’ league would go down in flames as guys like Fitch took over and clogged up the sport with assloads of boring.
Dana White said it several times on the opening episode of the Ultimate Fighter – he’s looking for guys who are gonna bring it and blow the doors off this hizzy. If a win was a win regardless of if you p0wntown’d a guy or pulled that Clay Guida shit, we’d be stuck with a lot more lay’n'pray and hit’n'run. So even though there are obvious shortcomings to the way the UFC tends to book it’s titles sometimes, it’s better than the alternative. Which sucks for the alternative, Jon Fitch.